Chapter 1: So little time
It's the tenth anniversary of Amanda's first ever race, the
Valentines 10k in 2008. She wasn't even going to tell me she'd
entered it at first, and then I was going to leave her to it and
stay in bed, but she did and I didn't, and that's how she got
started! First time out, though, and neither of us knowing anything
about how it all worked, I just hung around at the finish line and
she had to buy a professional picture of her actually running...
But she kept on running and I started taking more pictures, and
that's how we ended up getting to know most of you :-)
But there's a second layer of meaning in the chapter title: we are
cycling to the race and Amanda gets a puncture :-( It's just under
half an hour to the start of the race, and it should take her about
20 minutes to jog it, so she should be tight but ok. Not that she's
relaxed and calm about it, of course.
I lock her bike to a lamp-post, then ride back to load up the car.
She thinks I'll be able to do this in time to catch her up and give
her a lift, but that's outrageous optimism. I should be able to get
there before the race starts, but there won't be much slack.
In the past, car parking has been at Chessington World of
Adventures, which is a good few minutes from the start, so I decide
to try and find some nearer on-street parking.
Hmm... I'm definitely not on the double-yellow, but I'm not
quite sure what the letter of the law says about having one's rear
end over it. Oh well, what will be will be...
Amanda meanwhile has enlisted the aid of the registration team to
help get her bag stowed and her timing chip attached, tasks which
would normally be mine. They are all impressed at how cool and
unflustered she is, which is a tribute to her acting skill!
We meet up just before the off. Phew!
There are actually two races happening today. This is the Scot
Overall race, which starts at the same time, follows the same route
and is organised by the same club, but is otherwise completely
unrelated. Only Scot Overalls are allowed to enter.
Chapter 2: So many women (and one man)...
In theory, Merilyn, Pat, Nicky and Grant are here, but I didn't
see any of them in the few seconds I had at the start. I've ridden
down the road a way to get a slightly more scenic viewpoint, and
this also means that the field will have had time to spread out just
a little and it should be easier to spot people.
And here's Merilyn. Ok, one down.
Are you trying to divert my attention from my wife?!
But I'm not that easily swayed! Here she is without some hussy in
But there's more! Hi Sara!
Sara will probably overtake Amanda later. She's done this several
times lately. Harrumph.
Blimey! It's Sarah and Donata from The French Table. Didn't
know they were here either. For those unaware of the fact, TFT is
easily the best restaurant for miles around and nobody can figure
out what Eric (Mr Sarah and head chef) did wrong in a previous life
not to have a Michelin star. We can tell you we've had worse food at
places that do.
And now that I'm primed for the logo, I see there are two more
members of Team TFT.
What's this? It's a man! Grant is the first person of the
male persuasion I've recognised today.
Ok, enough Y chromosomes already. Nicky's not far from the back, but
it sounds like her running mojo is starting to return, so good for
I trust nobody's feeling quite like this. At least, not yet.
Merilyn's still in the lead of our little band.
This is a less photogenic spot, and when the sun is shining it's
impossible to shoot in a direction that minimises the dull suburban
street aspect. But then I wouldn't want to be accused of distorting
the reality of the race, which does have a bit of a dull suburban
street aspect for much of its length.
As Pat comes past, you can see that there are several supporters at
this corner. It must be the sunshine, because most years I've been
on my own with the marshals, and there are more of them
today as well.
Donata has just overtaken Amanda, in the pink right behind her.
A moment previously, Amanda was making strange gestures pointing
ahead. I will later learn that this meant, "Look, that girl who's
just overtaken me is wearing a shirt that says The French Table on
the back!". Of course she didn't know they were here either, and
obviously couldn't see them when they were behind her earlier.
I get back just as Merilyn has crossed the line.
And congratulating her, I all but miss Pat, just catching her at the
Fortunately, I'm more prepared for Amanda.
Sarah and Donata share a triumphant hug!
And it's another woman I don't know from Eve, but she seems pleased
to see me and her outfit alone qualifies her for inclusion here!
And while I've been out in the cold taking pictures, they've been
hiding in the warmth!
Nicky and Grant come in a little later, and we learn that the woman
in between them, whose face we recognise from other events and she
us likewise, is Alison.
So there we are: a fine time has been had by all. Let's see what the
next ten years will bring. Can I handle any more women?
Love to all,
PS: Oh, and I didn't get a parking ticket :-)))